As much as I hate dieting, and have no doubt I seriously do, Jenny Craig seems to agree with me. Aside from the obvious weight loss benefits, my body just runs a little better. It’s like I switched to putting super unleaded in my tank. I just feel more efficient. I can’t say I have more energy exactly. It’s more like I am less exhausted and don’t feel like turning on Sesame Street for my toddler while I go crawl under a rock. That’s a big plus in my book!
There are also a few other perks I have noticed almost immediately. Not to get too gross but…well…my bowels function better. I have IBS, which has caused me no end of pain and suffering over the years. Even though JC includes some of the foods that I am not supposed to eat, such as tomatoes, onions, any raw vegetable and chocolate (I know, doesn’t it suck?), for some reason I don’t have nearly as much pain and bloating. I also have an interesting physical condition that I was born with. My colon is twisted and pinched in 16 different places, which according to medical science is 12 more than normal. This is apparently heart-stoppingly exciting to Gastroenterologists. After surgery one time, my doctor exclaimed, “ your colon is out of this world! It’s like a water park in there.” Fantastic. Living with this “water park” means that anytime I eat, which unfortunately happens pretty much every day, I feel a lot of pain as the food pushes through the teeny, tiny pinched sections of my intestine. Yes, eating is such a joy. I have several medications and have been to the hospital a few times. More on that later.
A few days before starting this diet, I had the feeling things would go wrong. Not a premonition, but more like a deep sense of apprehension or foreboding. I was motivated so I was fairly certain there would be no internal sabotage. No, my downfall would be from some external source. Now I know of what I speak.
For ten days now I have battled the world’s worst (ok, slight exaggeration) upper respiratory infection. This nasty little infection has managed to disrupt, upset and undo all the gains I made in the first few weeks of the JC diet. I tried to keep working out but after almost passing out and discovering a rash all over my body while in the gym shower, I grudgingly decided to slow down and let my body rest. What I thought would be a few days turned into a week and then more. I am now on round two of antibiotics. The doctor is baffled and suggesting an ENT specialist as the next course of action if the Augmentin doesn’t work. I am frustrated, tired of feeling dizzy and congested and deaf.
Today I am exhausted. After I got through Noah’s second bout with Croup, now I have come down with what feels like a light virus or cold. I’m just so tired. Of course these always seemed to happen on the weekend that Noah is with his father and I am free to get lots of work done, or as is more often he case, goof off and go shopping. I always save that extra time for getting sick! Yea, me.
So, I haven’t gotten half the things done today that I need to. One of those very important things is my dissertation, which I am painfully close to finishing. You ever get that foggy, cognitively stagnant kind of feeling when you are sick? Like the hamster in the wheel in your brain isn’t moving so fast? This is my day. I keep staring at my dissertation statistics as if by sheer force of will they will calculate themselves. This has to do with Jenny Craig how, you ask? Well, because I am so foggy and tired, I have put off the gym for hours and I am afraid I won’t have the energy to go at all. I find it a little disturbing that after only a week I am so freaky about exercise. I started working out seriously about 5 weeks ago but until I began JC, I didn’t see any positive results. Wrong, I was positively gaining weight! But since this week on JC and losing so much right away, I’m afraid to ruin a good thing. I’m on a roll and I want it to stay that way. I decided my goal weight should be more like 125, a number I have not seen since I was 25. That’s 12 pounds away and it feels very daunting.
One of the benefits of running around all the time with work, errands, a toddler and an occasional social life is that there is little time to think about food. I mean, I do think about it. While I’m peddling away on the stationary bike with those little individual TV’s at the gym, I mysteriously gravitate toward the food channel. But overall, I believe being flustered and tardy all the time are both useful deterrents.
Today I woke up late and feeling fuzzy which pretty much set the tone for the whole day. I threw myself in the gym and then raced home to get Noah ready for a playgroup in some god-awful part of the city. Let me rephrase that. I had to get him ready for a playgroup that is god awfully far away. I have to cross the city and a bridge just to get there for a two-hour play date, which adds more stress (and commuting) to my life. But it is supposed to be a good school for kids with anxiety and problems relating to other kids so here we are.
There is nothing like a sick toddler to redirect your focus. Last night my son felt a bit warm but I didn’t think too much of it. When his father came to pick him up for visitation he was lethargic and looked pale. By bedtime he had a raging fever and that barking cough that can only be Croup. He’s had it before. In fact, just two months ago we ran to the emergency room in the middle of the night because his throat closed up and he was choking so hard he burst blood vessels all over his face. This time around I was calmer when his sweaty little head turned to me on the couch and said “Mama, I don’t feel so good today.”
Much of the reason I chose the Jenny Craig diet was because of my job. It isn’t what you would call conducive to dieting. I work as a community based therapist, which basically means I drive around to different parts of town all day long and am never in one place more than one hour. Needless to say I don’t have a lot of time to think about eating and usually make the worst (and most fattening) choices on the run. I figured with JC, all my meals would be packaged and ready to go. While this absolutely makes meal planning and preparing a thing of the past, it presented a new problem: storage.
It is day 2 and I have already run into trouble with the diet. My consultant assured me that I would not be hungry if I followed the guidelines exactly. The plan requires that the participant eat every few hours in order to avoid hunger pains. The theory sounded good but in practice it has yet to work out as well. It’s not that the food is bad. It basically tastes like Lean Cuisine or any other prepackaged frozen diet food. But the portions are small and the fruit “snacks” are just not enough to keep me from feeling like I’m starving. I assumed everyone felt this way but my good friend who started the diet at the same time I did, says he feels fine and is never hungry. This of course makes me want to strangle him. Who says things like that?
After allowing myself one final all out food bender (which included a hot dog with cheese, relish and ketchup, a PB& J sandwich AND pancakes) I woke up slightly sick to my stomach and ready to begin the Jenny Craig diet. Being a single mother of a three year old and working 38 hours a week, I felt I needed a diet that works like an all inclusive vacation package. I wouldn’t have to think about what I ate and it was all prepared for me. In the last year I have fighting to resist toddler food. A fight, needless to say, I have been losing. I noticed that I was dragging around about 8 extra pounds, I was tired and listless most of the day and I hated the way I looked in clothes. At 5’7 and 148 pounds I have been feeling chubby and oddly swollen for a long time. I love to eat and in my neighborhood there is no shortage of great restaurants. I’m not sure what the catalyst was (I suspect the desire to begin dating again), but one day I reached my threshold and called Jenny Craig. I was tired of feeling bad about myself all day every day. Now, let me be honest and say that I have never been all that successful at dieting in the past. My typical pattern is to jump into a new routine with a great deal of enthusiasm, start cheating after a week or two and then abandon the diet all together. The appeal of the Jenny Craig diet is that all the food is packaged for you. There is no weighing or timing my food intake. You just eat what they tell you to and the weight comes off. At least this is what I hoped for.